03.02.10

Gemini version available ♊︎

Browser Ballot Critique

Posted in Antitrust, Europe, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Windows at 4:49 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Ballot box

Summary: Press coverage about the ‘browser choice’ update and further confirmation that Microsoft is cheating and escaping cheaply

THE British press wrote quite a lot about Microsoft’s Web browser ballot (see The BBC, The Inquirer, and The Register for example) because it affects Europeans and the UK is the country that speaks English. For reasons that we explained before [1, 2, 3], this ballot misses the point, but it is probably called “controversial” for all the wrong reasons. For example:

Secondly, the controversial Windows Browser Ballot screen goes live today across all versions of Windows for users around the EU. Only those who have Internet Explorer (any edition) setup as their primary browser will see the notice which displays the four most popular alternatives (Firefox, Safari, Chrome and Opera) along with IE8.

“Does it allow you to have more than the one browser on the computer at any one time,” asks one of our readers. “And is the quality of the screen an accident?”

Microsoft’s ballot cheating is an issue that we raised last week. Rob Weir from IBM has run extensive tests to show that Microsoft is indeed cheating:

The story first hit in last week on the Slovakian tech site DSL.sk. Since I am not linguistically equipped to follow the Slovakian tech scene, I didn’t hear about the story until it was brought up in English on TechCrunch. The gist of these reports is this: DSL.sk did a test of the “ballot” screen at www.browserchoice.eu, used in Microsoft Windows 7 to prompt the user to install a browser. It was a Microsoft concession to the EU, to provide a randomized ballot screen for users to select a browser. However, the DSL.sk test suggested that the ordering of the browsers was far from random.

But this wasn’t a simple case of Internet Explorer showing up more in the first position. The non-randomness was pronounced, but more complicated. For example, Chrome was more likely to show up in one of the first 3 positions. And Internet Explorer showed up 50% of the time in the last position. This has lead to various theories, made on the likely mistaken theory that this is an intentional non-randomness. Does Microsoft have secret research showing that the 5th position is actually chosen more often? Is the Internet Explorer random number generator not random? There were also comments asserting that the tests proved nothing, and the results were just chance, and others saying that the results are expected to be non-random because computers can only make pseudo-random numbers, not genuinely random numbers.

Did anyone expect any better from Microsoft?

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

Decor ᶃ Gemini Space

Below is a Web proxy. We recommend getting a Gemini client/browser.

Black/white/grey bullet button This post is also available in Gemini over at this address (requires a Gemini client/browser to open).

Decor ✐ Cross-references

Black/white/grey bullet button Pages that cross-reference this one, if any exist, are listed below or will be listed below over time.

Decor ▢ Respond and Discuss

Black/white/grey bullet button If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

DecorWhat Else is New


  1. IRC Proceedings: Monday, September 27, 2021

    IRC logs for Monday, September 27, 2021



  2. Links 28/9/2021: Inkscape 1.1.1 and 4MLinux 37.1 Release

    Links for the day



  3. “What the Heli, Battistelli?”

    "Ms Pyjamas" (Heli) and Ms Bergot, a notoriously "strong lady" (for marrying the 'right' man?)



  4. When It Comes to UPC, EPO is Still Stuck in Pre-Brexit Mindset (More Than Half a Decade in the Past)

    The sheer lunacy of Team UPC is up on display and the EPO links to a “webinar” from 5.5 years ago; they’re still living in a fantasy world



  5. Links 27/9/2021: Q4OS 4, Windows Breaks Itself

    Links for the day



  6. [Meme] Route de France

    At the EPO, facts catch up with you



  7. [Meme] Tech Companies: No Friends of Women

    Just another reminder that companies like IBM do not actually care about women; they are misusing genuine feminism for corporate objectives



  8. Links 27/9/2021: OpenSSH 8.8, Martine OS 2.0 and Airyx 0.2.2 Reviewed

    Links for the day



  9. GNU Turns 38 (Midday Today or 12:35:59 EST) and RMS Talks to Polish Medical Professionals This Evening

    Today GNU turns 38. Last week over 5,000 people watched the RMS talk in Ukraine using our WebM version of it; in a few hours RMS will speak in Poland and we’ll try to find a stream if one becomes available (we shall update this page).



  10. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, September 26, 2021

    IRC logs for Sunday, September 26, 2021



  11. Links 27/9/2021: Librem 14 Reviewed, Linux 5.15 RC3 is Out

    Links for the day



  12. Links 26/9/2021: GNU Wget2 2.0.0 and MenuLibre 2.2.3 Released

    Links for the day



  13. How Basic Laws and Fundamental Rights Got Crushed in the European Patent Office

    Our next series will show the sheer hypocrisy of the EPO, hiding behind the veil of (patent) law while so shamelessly violating just about every law in the books without facing any form of accountability



  14. Regrettable Acts of Self-Harm: OpenMandriva and Mozilla Being Outsourced to Microsoft Proprietary Software and Monopoly

    In another blow to software freedom, OpenMandriva and Mozilla decide to abandon their own systems and use proprietary software from Microsoft instead



  15. Links 26/9/2021: Mozilla Spends on PR, OpenMandriva Outsourcing to Microsoft

    Links for the day



  16. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, September 25, 2021

    IRC logs for Saturday, September 25, 2021



  17. Links 25/9/2021: GNU/Linux Recognition in Mainstream Media and Wine-Staging 6.18

    Links for the day



  18. Reminder: GNU Turns 38 This Monday Around Midday (When GNU's Founder Gives Talk in Poland)

    With media and Torvalds speaking again about anniversaries (this has gone on for the past week because Torvalds wrote about it yet again), it is important to recall the announcement that got the ball rolling and basically started it all (the GNU/Linux operating system) because it was in 1983, not 1991. We reproduce in full the announcement.



  19. Links 25/9/2021: Wine 6.18 and Chromium Complier Woes

    Links for the day



  20. [Meme] When the EPO Watches Everything ('Dissidents', Media, Etc.) and Isn't Being Watched by Anybody

    The EPO is taking Europe for a wild ride; Everything is a vehicle for the very same agenda, with nobody left to hold it accountable or ask any tough questions… (even the media is in the EPO’s back pocket or back seat)



  21. Virtual Oversight

    “eMeetings” that simulate an impression of oversight are like ‘ViCo’ to simulate access to justice; will that ever change and will oversight be restored at EPOnia, Europe’s second-largest institution?



  22. The Corporate Coup Against the Soul of the Free Software Community Is Not Over

    The erosion of community role in the development of GNU/Linux is a growing problem; part of the problem is that large corporations target technical and philosophical (perceived) leaders in coordinated smear campaigns, led by media they own



  23. IRC Proceedings: Friday, September 24, 2021

    IRC logs for Friday, September 24, 2021



  24. Links 24/9/2021: GNU Coreutils 9.0, BattlEye GNU/Linux Support

    Links for the day



  25. [Meme] 'Linux' Foundation is Greenwashing Microsoft Again, Misusing the Linux Brand Like Nobody's Business

    Microsoft has weaponised the Linux brand to dub a toxic company like itself (helping notoriously polluting companies and generating lots of waste, both directly and through planned obsolescence, inefficient software, DRM, etc.) as "green"



  26. Richard Stallman to Speak (in Person) in Poland, Dedicate the Talk to Medical Professionals

    Days after his talk in Ukraine Richard Stallman plans to do the same in Poland (just announced)



  27. Links 24/9/2021: 30 Years of Europe’s First Root Name Server, Repairability of Laptops Discussed

    Links for the day



  28. ZDNet Has Failed

    ZDNet is on the decline and its demise appears to have greatly accelerated in recent months; we take a quick look at this month's coverage and explain the conflict of interest (it's PR, not news, and it's far too shallow/blatant to simply overlook)



  29. [Meme] Some People Are Just Above the Law

    A lot of people are still flabbergasted or at least baffled/miffed to discover that some people are in effect above the law; not even Europol and Interpol can apprehend and hold them accountable; that needs to change. Had Benoît Battistelli worked for France Télécom S.A. (not the EPO), would he be arrested? What about António Campinos and his drunk son?



  30. NPR and PBS, Both Funded by Bill Gates, Try to Save Him

    Bill Gates continues to corrupt the media and corrupt social control media (such as Twitter) using his money


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts